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Durham History Centre phase 2 consultation

We asked for your say on our exciting plans for Mount Oswald Manor House.

We are now able to provide feedback from your responses received:


Plans to create a new history centre were approved by our councillors in January 2019 following extensive consultation. Durham History Centre will bring into one central location the story of the history and heritage of the county, as told through historic records, photographs and objects. The proposals will bring Mount Oswald Manor House back into use, adding a high quality, visually appealing extension which will complement the existing building. It will also be the new home for the Durham Register Office offering significantly enhanced facilities for weddings and civil ceremonies in a historic setting.

Previous consultations found there was overwhelming support for a co-located facility, with good public transport links, good digital access and modern research facilities. You also told us that you would like to see the DLI/military collection being included in the new centre, which we have listened to, and acted on. Key priorities for you were exhibitions, multi-media access to collections, adult talks and behind the scenes tours.

What are we proposing to have at Mount Oswald

The extension will provide space for exhibitions, activities and events, which celebrate our county's history, and a secure home for the heritage collections. There will be an attractive destination cafĂ© for all as well as a catering offer. There will be space to view original historic documents and objects both physically and digitally and a dedicated volunteer room. A dedicated classroom will expand access for children and schools countywide.

The existing Manor House will provide enhanced register office services.

Countywide activities and exhibition programme

  • Free entry to our permanent and temporary exhibitions exploring the history of County Durham.
  • Learn about the lives of people and their stories through our fun and interactive countywide outreach programme.
  • Exhibitions will bring to life the fascinating history of County Durham from pre-history through to the modern day.
  • Activity programme with storytelling sessions, behind the scenes tours, volunteering opportunities and community projects.
  • Exciting education programme for local schools.

Five heritage collections will move to Mount Oswald:

  • Durham County Record Office archive: all material covering the last 900 years of County Durham and Darlington, including the DLI written and photograph records, will move from County Hall
  • Births, deaths and marriage records: 200 years of historic birth, death and marriage records currently held at Bishop Auckland Register Office
  • Durham's Historic Environment Record: information on the human impact on Durham and Darlington's landscape from the first settlers up to modern times and currently held at County Hall.
  • DLI objects collection: covering the 200 year history of the Durham Light Infantry regiment currently held in Spennymoor. This collection will be reunited with the written and photographic record held in County Hall for the first time since 1998.
  • Items from the local studies reference collection: original research materials and rare editions on the county's heritage, currently held at Durham Clayport library. Any copies will remain in the library.

Register office services

  • Enhanced facilities in a stunning location for weddings and civil ceremonies for up to 100 guests.
  • Mount Oswald will be the new home for the register office at Aykley Heads House and Bishop Auckland Register Office.
  • A facility to register births and deaths will continue at Bishop Auckland, Consett, Stanley, Seaham, Chester-le-Street, Barnard Castle, Stanhope, and Crook

The building

You will need to look at the document below as it shows you information about the building, and views of building plans. If you are having problems accessing the information, please contact us.

We asked for your say

Your responses will help us to develop our plans on how we deliver services from the centre. We asked for your views on:

  • the proposed design and layout of the building
  • themes for exhibitions
  • digital access to the collections
  • using the register office services

The deadline for comments was 5.00pm on 28 July 2019.

Aykley Heads House
Durham Register Office
Friday 21 June10.00am-1.00pm
Bishop Auckland Town Hall
Bishop Auckland
DL14 7NP
Monday 24 June12 noon-3.00pm
Durham AAP meeting
Collingwood College
South Road
Tuesday 25 June5.30pm
4 Together AAP
Dean Bank and Ferryhill Literary Institute
St Cuthberts Terrace
DL17 8PP
Wednesday 3 July5.30pm
Stanley AAP
The Venue
Wear Road
Monday 8 July5.30pm
East Durham AAP
Hazelwell Centre
Wednesday 10 July5.30pm
Mid Durham AAP
Hamsteels Community Centre
Western Avenue
Esh Winning
Wednesday 10 July5.30pm
3 Towns AAP
Council Chamber
Civic Centre
North Terrace
County Durham
DL15 9AZ
Thursday 11 July5.30pm
Spennymoor AAP
Croxdale Community Centre
The Old School
Back Rogerson Terrace
Thursday 11 July5.30pm
Chester-le-Street AAP
Walter Best Hall
Cornerstones Centre for the Community
North Burns
Monday 15 July6.00pm
Great Aycliffe AAP
Aycliffe Village Hall
9-12 North Terrace
Newton Aycliffe
Tuesday 16 July5.30pm
Derwent Valley AAP
Consett Salvation Army Hall
Sherburn Terrace
Wednesday 17 July5.30pm
East Durham Rural Corridor AAP
Trimdon Community College Association
Elwick View
Trimdon Village
TS28 6JU
Thursday 18 July4.30pm
Weardale AAP
Durham Dales Centre
Castle Gardens, Stanhope
County Durham
DL13 2FJ
Thursday 18 July5.30pm
Bishop Auckland AAP
Civic Hall
Main Street
Thursday 18 July5.30pm
Clayport Library
Millennium Place
Friday 19 July12 noon-3.00pm

What happened next

A planning application has now been submitted and can be viewed here.




Contact us
Durham History Centre consultation
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